Valencia Water Court

Every Thursday at noon, for centuries, the Water Tribunal (Tribunal de las Aguas), declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity UNESCO, has been meeting in the square in front of Valencia's Cathedral / Turismo Valencia.

Plaza de la Mare de Déu. Valencia


963 914 445 - Valencia Water Court

El Tribunal de las Aguas de la Vega de Valencia is a very old institution of traditional law courts which resolves water disputes and claims among the water users of a surface irrigation system along the Orchard of Valencia. The main groundwater bases are represented at the Plaza de la Mare de Déu, which is located next to the cathedral.

The Water Court consists of one representative, called a trustee, from each of the Irrigation Communities. These representatives meet Thursdays at noon at the Puerta de los Apóstoles of the Cathedral of Valencia. On public holidays that are held on a Thursday, representatives meet on Wednesday, and no sessions are held in between the 25th December and the 6th January. Conflicts are settled orally and take place in Valencian. In the year 2008 it was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

These traditional courts for water management date back to the al-Andalus period and have, to some extent, survived to the present day. The Water Court, thereby, illustrates Valencia’s special relation with water and, most importantly, Valencia’s long concern about the sustainable use of water for its orchards. Note that the richness of the Valencian orchards is mentioned in el Cantar de Mío Cid, probably because of the significance of this tradition as a symbol of the relation between men and Nature. 

Rev. PAB 19.12.18